January 25, 2010

Maybe It's Me: The Wars of Winter

I like to pick fights with people who don’t know I’m picking fights with them.

Oh, the mighty wars that wage against such fearless foes (in my head)!

It’s epic really!

I’m a lover not a fighter. I’m a sappy, pacifist who cries when she gets overly frustrated, or overly angry, or overly offended. I can’t raise my voice, come up with witty retorts, or think of clever vengeful deeds, because it’s far too difficult to kick your adversary’s butts when you’re blubbering like a big baby.

So, as a thoughtful gesture to my nemeses (I don’t want some upper hand simply because said enemies have suddenly gone all soft at the sight of some freckled kid sobbing), I try and keep them from seeing me all worked up.

I like to write out my problems anyway – it’s cathartic to me and sends a message loud and clear to whomever I might be feuding with (even to those I’m not feuding with – the power of misinterpretation is overwhelming. For example, if I write, “Guess what? Not everything is about you!” then suddenly I’ll be flooded with messages from a horde of angry friends. Well guess what? Not everything is about you! Or you! So stop reading things that aren’t there!).

Maybe it’s me, but there are certain foes I can’t just write off (literally or metaphorically, I guess). There are certain adversary’s who have caused me so much unnecessary stress that I try valiantly through body language, facial expressions, and defiant maneuvers to let them know that we are mortal enemies.

Currently I’m being attacked from two different sides. There’s the battle with the pizza delivery man and the even bigger war with my number one rival from December to April – the plow guy.

The Delivery Man.

Down the street from my office is a pizza place. I’ve never been. I’ll never go. It’s seedy looking chain and I couldn’t begin to explain the depths of my disgust with their overly priced, flavorless, crappy ‘za. But they’ve kept to themselves for the most part, and I appreciate that.

With the copious amounts of snow now lining our streets like some ominous white tunnel, parking on said streets has been less than ideal. For example, two people cannot park on exact opposite sides of the street, because there will be no room for even a compact car to be able to drive down the center of the road. So, my fellow offsite parkers and I have courteously figured out how to stagger our parking so that normal traffic may continue to flow.

The street on which I park is not very busy. I think, perhaps, in an eight hour day, three cars actually drive down the street (unless its trash day, than that number doubles).

What I didn’t know, until recently, is that one of those three cars is the delivery man from the evil pizza institution just houses away. And he’s out for blood.

Maybe it’s the “delivery guarantee of thirty minutes or less” or maybe he’s just upset that he’s a twenty-something with a degree in liberal arts and philosophy driving a pizza delivery car, but he’s one sour jerkface who feels he owns our street.

The first night I got out of work early, when I got to my car, there was no other sign of life on the road. From the mere seconds it took for me to stop in front of my door to placing my key in the lock, the beat-up blue pizza delivery car was stopped feet away, angrily revving its engine as it waited for me to clear the street so it could continue on its way. Feeling guilty, I quickly jumped into my car and shut the door just in time as the car sped past.

The next night, the same thing happened. I get to my car, there’s nobody else on the road. I go to open my door and the pizza guy is sitting in his car honking viciously at me. This time, though, I took a moment to look up at him and make a face like, “Sir, you need to chill the eff out” (obviously “eff” is short for some other lovely word I’m trying to reduce my abuse of). He let his foot off the brake and I got into my car and yanked on the door, fearing the pizza delivery car would rip it off. He nearly did.

I walked slower to my car that next night, and yet, our lives still seemed to be perfectly synced, because by the time I was opening my car, he was sitting there revving his engine, honking his horn, and throwing vulgar hand signs at me.

Loathing him with every fiber in me, I decided enough was enough. As I headed to my car on that fourth night I decided his time belonged to me. Thirty minutes or less to get that pizza somewhere without fear of repercussion from either the customer or his boss? HIS TIME BELONGED TO ME.

I got to my car, and as my keys brushed the lock, the pizza delivery car was instantly there, only feet away. I deliberately took my time lifting my head as slowly as possible to look at him. He was sitting there fuming, so I let a smile creep very, very, unhurriedly across my face. I “accidentally” dropped my keys and very lazily bent down to pick them up before oh-so-sluggishly standing back up. He was screaming at me from inside his car, revving his engine and creeping inches forward. I took in a deep breath and brought my hand gradually to the lock.

He was on MY clock now.

I eventually made my way into the car, and laughed and laughed as he drove by continuing to scream profanities at me from behind the safety of his beater.

I couldn’t love making him late anymore. The chain reaction of unhappy people is brilliant! By causing him to be just a smidge late I’ve upset him. Now he’ll show up where ever he was going with pizza four minutes colder than it was meant to be and upset his customer (who I assume is morbidly obese, because either this pizza man goes out of his way simply to drive his pizza car at the same time every day or some very lazy, huge man orders pizza every day at the same time. My imagination hopes for the second, while my vindictive side hopes for the first – fuel to the fire is a good thing). And this customer will call the pizza place and tell the manager how his cheese is a little more congealed then it should be and upset him in return.

Oh the power I have and the lives I can disrupt just by unlocking my door at a snail’s pace.

Our timing is a little off now, though. Sometimes I get to my car just in time to have him intentionally zoom past in the attempts of spraying the slushy snow on me; sometimes I get to my car and have the opportunity to jump in and pull out in front of him just in time to drive five miles per hour down the entire length of road.

You win some, you lose some.

The second battle is with the Plow Guy.

THE EFFING PLOW GUY.

We are the only apartment building in the very residential area I live in. Our “parking lot” is really nothing more than an extended driveway. Every tenant has very few inches allotted to them in form of a parking space. When snow comes, it makes the squeeze an even tighter one.

The landlord’s step-fathers uncle’s cousin is our Plow Guy. And he’s angry. At the world. He’s an angry at the world Plow Guy.

When he shows up (his giant yellow plow scraping violently across the driveway is the only thing heralding his arrival) he gives you approximately nine– yes, just nine – seconds to get out and move your car. And if you don’t do it then he’ll bury you in.

Because he can.

Because he’s an angry at the world Plow Guy.

And when I say he gives you nine – yes, just nine – seconds to move your car, I mean exactly that. Nine seconds. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the middle of cooking, or if you’re in the bathroom, or if you’re sleeping, you have less than ten seconds to get up, get dressed, rush out, and move your car.

Did I mention the Plow Guy only comes in the middle of snowstorms? Not when they’ve finished, not the next day, not early in the morning or later in the evening when people might be more available, he comes IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SNOWSTORM. So, when he arrives, in those nine seconds not only do you have to hope your chocolate cake doesn’t burn in your broken oven that you have to babysit if you ever want to bake anything because your landlord won’t fix it for you, not only do you have to jump out of the shower half covered in slimy soap, not only do you have to instantly snap away from unconsciousness, but you ALSO have to get dressed in your winter boots, and your winter jacket, and your winter hat, and your winter gloves – and crap! you forgot pants – and rush down to your car to move it.

And if you haven’t gone out prior to his arrival to brush the snow off your car, than you have that to do as well. And despite you standing there, rushing as fast as humanly possible to clean off your car and move it for the Plow Guy, he won’t wait for you. He won’t even acknowledge that you’re out there. He’ll continue to pile snow around you and your car hoping secretly, I think, to hit your leg with his giant, scary yellow plow of steel.

It is an exhausting process.

This year, when a snowstorm hits, I’ve been waiting for him to show up. I go out in each blizzard at thirty minute intervals to sweep the snow off my car so that when he arrives, I’ll be able to instantly move my car for him. I leave my pants, my jacket, my boots, and my gloves at the ready so that when I hear his plow hit the first bank of snow, I can jump into my clothing and run out.

I’m not sure I’m winning this one.

However, not once has he been able to bury me in this year. Unlike last year, where I spent many, many sleepless nights trying to dig my five foot tall white car out of a five foot tall white snow bank with a cookie sheet, because I didn’t think to buy a shovel.

Yes, I have felt victorious, no matter how frazzled or out of breath or soaked from snow I’ve been, standing next to my car (parked down the street far enough away so that there could be no possible way for there to be “an accident” with the plow and my car) as I watched the Plow Guy plow the snow from my area of the parking lot.

I will continue to wage quiet wars with the Delivery Man and the Plow Guy, winning some and losing some. Perhaps when the snow has melted returning our world to its normal state, there will once again be room enough for everyone. The Plow Guy can go into hibernation and (hopefully) sleep off his rage and the pizza delivery man can speed down the spacious street as offsite parkers get into their vehicles without fear of losing door or limb.

I will fight the good fight, then, until spring when I can continue fighting against the biggest enemy of all.

The Postman.

He’s lucky his camouflage skills (he’s pale and has white hair – he’s been using the snow to his advantage) and the sudden distraction by two new foes have kept me at a distance.

Until spring, Mr. Postman.

Until spring.